I have worked in the oil industry for 30+ years and April 6th I was laid off as many others have been. I am 69 and my wife who is covered under my group plan is 62. We will have company group health coverage thru May, but after that I have to either go on COBRA which is about $1800.00 or my wife will be uninsured since she is not eligible for Medicare.
We really have no idea where to start. All of my benefits such as life, dental, vision and health have always been with my employer and I will have nothing to protect myself or my wife. Give me the options that I should look for to make an informed decision for my family. Thank You, Henry from the Bellaire Examiner
Don’t feel alone…every day I am receiving this same problem from the oil industry all throughout the United States from a person who is of the Medicare age with a younger spouse under 65 and the cost of COBRA is out of site.
Let’s talk about what the Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) and options for both you and your spouse.
- Under 65 and leaving company benefit plan (SEP): is when a certain life event such as loss of job or company benefits. There is a 60 day period in which one can enroll in an ACA plan or the health market exchange without being denied.
1). Wait past 60 days from loss of health coverage and you must wait for the ACA open enrollment in the fall and face a possible penalty.
2). Always discuss which ACA or market place health insurance plan your healthcare providers accept.
3). Do not judge your plan by price alone verify that your specific healthcare provider and/or facility accepts the health insurance plan you are choosing.
- Over 65 and leaving company benefit plan (SEP): You should be enrolling in Medicare. Call Social Security at 1/800-772-1213 and advise them that you have been laid off or are retiring and need to enroll in Part B of Medicare. You will need to take the 2 forms that Social Security has mailed you to your HR department and have them sign them. Failure of not having form signed by HR will get you a Part B penalty that goes all the way back to the day you turned 65.
Below is what you need to do to have your Medicare begin on time:
1) Take the 2 forms to your local Social Security office and inform the SS clerk that you want your Medicare Parts A and B to begin the 1st of the month that you are losing your company benefits.
2) When your Part B is in place, then you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan.
3) Once you leave your company benefits you will have 63 days to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or you can also have a Part D penalty which goes all the way back to the day you turned 65.
- Find out what other benefits you are losing: Explore different options for life insurance. Many have accelerated riders such as Living Benefits if you are concerned about long term care issues or look into traditional long term care plans. Explore your options before you become uninsurable.
West University Senior Center – Confused about Medicare Workshop – Tuesday May 5th at 5:00PM-7:00PM located at 6104 Auden, Houston, TX 77005 RSVP: 832/519-TONI (8664).